Australian miner Legend International is set to sign a 20-year haulage and handling services contract worth A$3bn with P&O Trans Australia (POTA) for its Georgina Basin phosphate project.

The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to guide contract negotiations worth about A$40m during the first five years of operation, Legend said.

The contract includes road cartage, rail haulage and various storage and material handling tasks, Legend said

The project, expected to begin operations by the end of 2009 or in early 2010, will begin with an annual production between 0.5 and one million tonnes that will increase rapidly and would be increased to five million tonnes.

The contract is expected to create 50 new jobs at POTA.